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Poster: Jim F Date: Jan 27, 2011 3:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Your first show...

That's just how it was back then, the same thing is still going on today with the Furthur discussions. For many heads, they just couldn't do the post-Jerry thing. The late 90's marked a distinct change in the concertgoing audience, I think, where many of the more veteran deadheads took a little break for a while. Some still are. I know a few people who have tried over the last 10-15 years, but it's just not the same for them. Though there are obviously others who have kept the fire. Many have still been able to feel that magic with The Other Ones or Phil and Friends, Ratdog, The Dead, Furthur, etc. and continued to attend over the past decade.

It's that first crop of Deadheads that appeared after Garcia died that are an interesting group. These are people brought into it much differently than the generation of Deadheads that appeared in the late 80's and early 90's.

Through my involvement in our local scene, I've encountered many fans who were some 5 years old when Garcia died. The only reality they know of the live GD environment is of the past decade of Phil and Ratdog and DSO and Furthur and such.

A whole nother discussion is about the evolution of the modern hippie/Deadhead based on the somewhat modern concept of the Festival Circuit. It's probably more common for people to hit a couple of the weekend long festivals a year than to follow one specific band for an extended period of time.

For a number of years I was a part of Missouri's local festival scene, with our soon to be defunct Schwagstocks (do google search to read about the government seizing the property they held them on, they're in deep legal shit facing a federal drug case), and Wakarusa and Bonarroo all within reasonable driving distance. A friend of mine made a documentary about the local festival scene, and when interviewing Schwagstock Promotor and bass player for GD tribute The Schwag (he's also been Melvin's bass player for 2 years or so), he discussed his experiences seeing GD shows in the late 80's and early 90's. He spoke of how after the show, everybody always got kicked out of the lot, so he thought it would be a brilliant idea to create a place where they could have them and maybe a few bands play all night, and you didn't have to leave, the camp is right there. Not that he invented the festival scene by any means, but it's important in terms of the mentality, in the interview he speaks of how he wanted to build the events around the idea of putting in one place the musical performance side of it with parking lot/campout atmosphere. Quite the shift from the Dead handing out fliers about don't come if you don't have a ticket, in an era where commercialism was beginning to take over the environment outside their shows, where anarchy ruled. People arranged their lives to where they could live on the road with relative financial success by providing goods and services to the audience, many of which didn't even have tickets but just came for the party.

Anyway point is, the festival circuit met that mentality. You could come, sell whatever things you sold (legal or illegal), or just come to party, maybe see a band, maybe not. You would just be there, with friends participating in a lifestyle just as much as you were "going to a concert." I can go on and on and on about these debates, and barely make sense a lot of the time, but I guess what I'm saying is, that modern festival scene seems as though it were geared towards or marketed to a certain type of "hippie"/Deadhead that began to evolve in the early to mid-90's. The type of person who may not have been as interested musically more than they were culturally.

Getting back to some sense of concluding my initial statements, I guess I would say that I'm part of that post-Garcia group myself, really, as I got into the Dead before Jerry's passing but never got to see the band live. But I'm talking more of the generation that is a dozen or so years younger than me (I'm 31). Many of them are hardcore about the cover band scene, different kids come for different reasons, but some of the more intellectual of the bunch will say things like how they missed the boat on the Grateful Dead, that the tribute band environment is carrying on something they missed and keeping alive for them the opportunity to still experience the music and lifestyle and place to gather. Like the festival scene, they feel like they're getting to relive what it was like in the 60's or something. I keep getting back to that, but I cannot say enough about the differences in catching a show in a local venue, maybe doing it again the next night in a different city, doing lots of driving, maybe staying in hotels, etc. and the idea of going out to a campout where you don't leave for 3 or 4 days, all the music is there and there is enough infrastructure to support the thousands for a few days.

But getting back to another original point, due to the "old heads" and where they come from commingling with the young heads of the post-Garcia world, sometimes this leads to a sort of "ageism," typical to occur in a cultural lifestyle and fanbase that has always encompassed people of all ages. There are the revered "old heads," the elders and example setters, then there are "them damn kids," the "ones who are ruining it for the rest of us" with their nitrous and overzealous dancing. I always liked that scene in the documentary "Tie Dyed" where I think it's a vendor who talks about how every little faction within the subculture always blames the decline of the scene on some other group of bastards. "It's those damn vendors" or nitrous dealers or ticketless fans or whoever. Also like Gans' song "Who Killed Uncle John." "Not I, said the nitrous man, counting his money in the back of his van..." Then there's the line about the guy who will "soon own every note he played." And of course, us serious tape collectors who are the most serious about the music, we're the "better" Deadheads, with our class and knowledge and deadication. ;-P

The point was, this younger crop of heads who grew into it with less emphasis on the Grateful Dead itself and more on other modern "jam bands," cover bands, and various incarnations of "surviving members," are much more enthusiastic about the post-Garcia GD world. That's where their good memories reside. For the older heads, they are often presented with music they can't or don't enjoy like the music they had so many wonderful experiences with a decade or two or three ago.

I kinda went all over the place here-all for no reason, really-said too much here, forgot to say some other things there, the whole point was to talk about the evolution of the post-GD musical world over the last decade, and I didn't talk at all about the different lineups and groups we saw in that time. Too late to get into that now, but I will say that yes, there is some truly amazing, inspiring music that was made. I've been on a big Phil kick lately, downloading lots of video from 2000-2003, maybe a 99 here and there, and I just rediscovered how awesome a lot of it was. I could recommend a whole bunch of shows. I mean really just check out the Phil collection from 1999-2003. Just about any of it, ESPECIALLY the peak of the "PLQ" lineup from 2000-2002, has some mindblowing stuff in there.

I applaud you if you made it this far through this post. Sorry for the confusion and waste of your time lol. Buuut, if you actually dug some of what I have to say, maybe we can get some debate going on about that. I'm normally pretty played out on discussing observations of the scene, but every once in a while I really enjoy sharing opinions and thoughts on it all. Passes the time, anyway.

Can't be any worse than those "Top 10's," right? lol

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jan 28, 2011 4:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Your first show...

Interesting post, Jim ... do a thread sometime with some of your favorites from the post-Dead era!

Never heard that Gans song. Got a link?

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Poster: Jim F Date: Jan 29, 2011 12:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Your first show...

Gans' "Who Killed Uncle John" is a great song. I don't think I'd ever heard it until I saw Gans play in 2002, where he opened for, then sat in with, one of those local cover bands I'm always blabbering about.

It's kindof a dark song, which really encapsulates that sadness and anger among us after Garcia died. "Who killed Uncle John, and kept the show from goin' on?" he sings, then answers for us. He basically sings about how the pressures of being Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead slowly killed Jerry, and goes through the list of the various subcultures among Deadheads and how none of them want to take the blame, and instead put it on each other.

I don't have a favorite version of it or anything (aside from the ones I've seen live I guess). I haven't listened to this one, but here is a more modern version from one of those Schwagstock festivals here in Missouri.

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Poster: Jim F Date: Jan 29, 2011 12:28am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Your first show...

...and to make it easier, here are the lyrics...great words...especially funny when performed at a festival run by a tribute band.

Who Killed Uncle John?
David Gans

Who killed Uncle John
And kept the show from going on?
"Not I," said the nitrous man
Counting money in his van
"The parking lot's my neighborhood
I'm sure the show inside was good"
"Not I," said the tribute band
Playing for nostalgic fans
"It's everybody's flame to keep
Twice as high and half as deep"
It wasn't me who stopped his heart
I served the man who served his art

Who killed Uncle John
And kept the show from going on?
"Not I," said the idiot
Flaming on the Internet
"He owed his wealth to guys like me
I take his work so seriously"
"Not I," said the completist
Fondling his compact discs
"I'm sorry that he's gone away
I'll soon own every note he played"
It wasn't me who stopped his heart
I served the man who served his art

Who killed Uncle John
And kept the show from going on?
"Not I," said the mainstream press
"I found his image ludicrous
His followers were so uncool
I made him out to be a fool"
"Not I," said the publicist
Protecting him from journalists
"I'm writing his biography
I needed him to talk to me"
It wasn't me who stopped his heart
I served the man who served his art

"Not I," said the acid-head
"And I don't think he's really dead
He served his time in hell on earth
Only I know his true worth"
"Not I," said the heroin
Slouching into Terrapin
"I helped him to escape his fame
By letting him forget his name"
It wasn't me who stopped his heart
I served the man who served his art

Who killed Uncle John
And kept the show from going on?
"Not I," said the engineer
Whispering in someone's ear
"I woke up worried every day
And went to bed each night that way"
"Not I," said the kwipment krew
"He loved me and hated you
Guts to open, trips to win
I stayed right in the game with him"
It wasn't me who stopped his heart
I served the man who served his art

Who killed Uncle John
And kept the show from going on?
"Not I," said the dharma bum
Speaking through his talking drum
"Not I," said the entourage
manufacturing mirage
"Not I," said the man from merch
Selling souvenirs in church
"Not I," said the radio host
Refusing to give up the ghost
"Not I," said the DEA
Deploying agents where he played
"Not I," said the troubadour
"Not I" --

"Not I," said the dancing girl
Interrupted in mid-twirl
"I'll show you where the spirit went
I'll meet you at the Incident"

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jan 30, 2011 4:09am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Your first show...

That's really something. More than a few lines sound pretty familiar! And he didn't spare himself either, LOL ...

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Poster: njbmxrider Date: Jan 28, 2011 6:29pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Your first show...

Ive been a lurker on this site for about a year now and Ive never had the courage to put any of my input on this site because I fall under the "new age" dead head category. My "first" show was the Dead at the Spectrum in Philly May 1st and 2nd in 09. I was home on mid tour leave from an overseas deployment and I got to see the shows with friends and family. I have always been a huge music and concert guy but I had a very limited GD listening catalog until those first shows. After those shows something clicked, my eyes opened and Ive been addicted ever since. Ive been lucky enough to see Ratdog and Furthur (2010-03-06, 2010-07-10, 2010-09-24 through 26) and I have been obsessively listening/downloading from this site and other sources.

You pretty much hit the nail square on the head with your post. Being born in 87 from non dead head parents I never stood a chance of getting on the bus in time. I always enjoyed the festival scene (warped tour, ozzfest, jamfests) but Ill never forget that first shakedown street experience in the lot of the spectrum. all the heads following the band around and camping out at fdr park. It was amazing to see all the positive energy and after hearing the music I just had to figure this all out. I know a lot of people do not like Warren filling in but I think they were great as that line up. I also love warren and all his projects too though. Then this neat little band Furthur started up and I think they are pretty much as good as its gonna get for post jerry "cover" bands. Unfortunately Im back overseas and wont be able to check out the spring Furthur tour but you better believe ill be hanging onto every note from the recordings. What makes it harder is they're doing 4-5 night runs; shakedown is going to be absurd and everyones old friends are going to get together and have a good time.

Anyway before straying too far from your post, I guess it feels like Im trying to relive what it might have been like "back in the day." Thats not the only reason Im hooked though, IMO the music is just as good and now with modern technology, you have quality recordings at your fingertips the night after the show, or 44 years after the show. Its also intriguing to learn the history of "rock and roll" and the Deads roll in that history. It feels good to still play a small part in that history and I hope they keep this flame lit as long as possible.

What is hard for me is reading all these posts of people trading tapes of shows and as a new head, with no deadhead friends especially old heads, I have no idea how to start getting involved in that scene and finding some of the older gems that you can no longer obtain. So for me, Furthur is as close as I can get to experiencing the GD culture until I become rich and spend absurd amounts of money on releases.

I guess in the end what Im trying to say here is after experiencing "the dead," the dead community, and all the other aspects surrounding the band, its hard not to get sucked in when you enjoy quality music, good company and unforgettable memories.

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Poster: Jim F Date: Jan 28, 2011 11:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Your first show...

Not much I can add to that! I'm very interested in hearing these newer pespectives just as much as I love hearing the stories of those who first got on the bus in 69, 79, or 89.

While the whole thing is in once sense a timeless experience, it can also be the opposite, in terms of how people discover the music, how/when/where they see the shows, the technology factor, etc.

Pretty much as soon I as discovered the world of live tapes-which were hard to obtain when I first got into it, shortly before the digital age made this music as widely and easily available as it is now-I became pretty obsessive. I probably got equally as obsessive about learning as much about the history and the culture as I did collecting and listening to the music. I nearly majored in Sociology in college (I wound up majoring in social work, double minored in sociology and psychology), and my growing evolution as a Deadhead provided me with all sorts of material for my research papers. The GD culture was something I wrote about quite a lot back in the college days. It's something I am still prone to ramble about, if you catch me on the right day.

Something I'm interested in that I've talked about before is how new people will be turned onto this music and how the culture will survive in 20 years or so. After the surviving members are all gone, the DSO's are going to be the elder statesmen torch carriers, and it will be interesting to see how the culture evolves from there. While I wish I had been around to see the Dead evolve from their earliest years, I am at the least thankful that I got to experience it during this transition period of the last 15 years.

For me, when I talk about the "Grateful Dead Culture," a lot of my thoughts and feelings come from the many years and hundreds of shows of experience in our little local scene here in St. Louis. I know there are a lot of GD cover bands out there, but I've never really known of anyplace else like St. Louis. Like I've said before, we have two (drastically different) GD cover bands here that have been playing locally for a long time, one of them over 30 years, the other around 20. Both bands, though primarily one of them, have also long held campout festivals in Missouri, which have only gotten more popular. When I first started attending, it was a big deal to break the 2000 attendance number. Now events typically host somewhere between 5000-8000 people.

At any rate, the point is that my experience in that scene is by far greater than my total number of experiences in the more "national" scene, seeing shows by The Other Ones, Phil, Ratdog, Furthur, etc. And eventually it's going to be that way for all modern Deadheads. Sure one can argue that the culture is thriving today because of all of the other "jam bands" out there like Phish and Panic and SCI and all those guys. But I've always felt a distinction among it all, it's like how I've always said I'm not a hippie, I'm a Deadhead. Those other bands are well and good enough to satisfy the average music loving hippie, but there will always be only ONE Grateful Dead. There are many modern bands out there doing it today that can provide great musical experiences, but for some of us, we just need some good old Grateful Dead. Where will we go for the song after the singer has gone?

Enough of all that for now, though...